My name is Kathy Boguszewski. I currently volunteer as a teacher/librarian at Rock University High School. I collaborate with Mike McKinnon, a retired social studies teacher and state leader during the Young Historians Class on the National History Day Project. We followed the Guided Inquiry Design Process with fidelity for the first time this year. We had 7 students compete at regional competition at UW Madison a week ago. 4 of them advanced to the state completion the end of April. All the students commented in their reflections that GI helped them to think deeper and communicate better with their peers on historical topics.
When my journey began in public education with teachers and students:
I began working directly with teachers in April 1967 when I graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. There was a great need for certified teachers who were willing to teach with teachers on how to use the elementary school libraries that were built in the mid 1960s. I had hoped to be a classroom teacher, but the offer for a job right when I graduated was very appealing. I never looked back.
The first challenge I had was to motivate the teachers to work with me as an instructional partner. They saw the school library as they did the public library in the neighborhood, a place to check out books. I asked them if I could observe what they were teaching to help me see if the materials we had could enhance their textbook content. In those days – it was all about the textbooks. I then took time away from the school library to gain more teaching experience. I taught 1st and 5th grade. I moved to California where I worked as a library assistant in the Public Library. I realized that I had a fever for learning and contributing more to the education of children so I applied and was accepted in the UW Madison Library and Information Studies Master’s program in 1984-85.
My first position after graduation was at Milton High School in Wisconsin as the Library Media Specialist. The principal told me that when he asked a student in the school where the library was, he expected them to answer enthusiastically, not only where it was, but that they were there often. The library at the time, was in the basement of the school and under-utilized.
Again – I met with the departments and asked them if I could observe in their classrooms, so I could get a feel for what the students were learning and suggest resources that could enhance their learning. I soon discovered the work of Carol Kuhlthau and again, I never looked back. Her research into the Information Search Process made so much sense. In the 1990’s I participated in a 2 year summer institute with Jean Donham at the University of Iowa. That experience helped me understand my role as a co-assessor with the teachers during the research process. During the 15 years I was in Milton, we passed a referendum, built a larger centrally located library media center, opened before school, during, and after school until 7:30 PM. The library was the first place in the building to recognize the power of the Internet. Every academic and tech ed curriculum program utilized the school library for research, materials selection, and connection to virtual classes. It was, and still is, the learning commons of the school.
In the 2000’s I began working in the School District of Janesville as the Library Media and Instructional Technology Coordinator. I helped co-write a grant for a Charter School. We based the instructional design for the Charter School on Carol Kuhlthau’s ISP. The school would be Learning Driven where technology is used as a cognitive tool to assist the learner in the acquisition of information and the communication of ideas.
We took a trip to Rutgers University where we sat in on Dr. Kuhlthau’s class and spoke with Dr. Ross Todd. Carol arranged for us to spend a day at Gil St. Bernard’s, a private school, where we observed the partnership between the library media specialists and the teachers and the high level research the students were conducting, following Kuhlthau’s model.
The Dean of the Charter School and I were invited to Rutgers in 2013 where we participated in the CiSSL 3rd International Research Symposium and a celebration of Dr. Kuhlthau’s work. At that time we learned about the and how it related to the ISP. In the summer of 2015 a charter school team of teachers and administrators participated in the Guided Inquiry Institute in Eau Claire Wisconsin. We chose to align the National History Day Project to the Guided Inquiry Process, a slight variation from the ISP. More on that project tomorrow.